J Neurogastroenterol Motil.  2010 Jul;16(3):265-273.

Capsaicin Inhibits the Spontaneous Pacemaker Activity in Interstitial Cells of Cajal From the Small Intestine of Mouse

  • 1Department of Physiology, College of Medicine, Chosun University, Gwangju, Korea. jyjun@chosun.ac.kr


Capsaicin (8-methyl-N-vanillyl-6-ninenamide), a compound found in hot peppers, has been reported to have different physiological actions on different cell types. Not much work has been done about the effect of capsaicin on the function of interstitial cells of Cajal (ICC). In the present study, we examined the action of external application of capsaicin on pacemaker activity in the cultured ICC from the small intestine of mouse.
We investigated the effect of capsaicin on pacemaker currents in cultured ICC from the small intestine of mouse using a whole cell patch-clamp technique and Ca2+-imaging analysis.
When capsaicin was applied externally to the pacemaker generating ICC, it completely inhibited the pacemaker potential under current-clamp mode (I = 0) and the pacemaker current under voltage-clamp mode at a -70 mV of holding potentials. The effect of capsaicin on pacemaker activity in ICC was shown dose dependently. The effect of capsaicin was not through the transient receptor potential of the vanilloid type 1 (TRPV1) channel as capsazepine did not block the effect of capsaicin. L-NAME, an inhibitor of nitric oxide synthase, also did not block the capsaicin-induced effects. When the action of capsaicin was examined in the intracellular calcium oscillation, it completely abolished the calcium oscillation.
These results prove that the capsaicin has the inhibitory effects on the ICC which is carried out neither through TRPV channel nor the nitric oxide production. Intracellular Ca2+ was also an important target for actions of capsaicin on ICC.


Capsaicin; Interstitial cells of Cajal; Pacemaker current; Gastrointestinal motility
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